Independent living for people with disabilities

Living with a disability can be challenging, especially if you live alone. That’s why it’s important to make your home situation as comfortable and accessible as possible, so you can feel empowered to live life on your own terms.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Disability and Carers Census, 76.6% of people living with a disability require assistance and live with family or carers, and 19.4% live alone.

Whether you’re living with family, carers or solo, there are things you can do to help make daily living that bit easier and enhance your independence.

In this article, we’ll consider:

  • Leveraging technology
  • Home modifications
  • Getting savvy about finances
  • Sorting your transport
  • Developing your skills
  • Independent living options

Let’s dive in.

Leveraging technology

We’re lucky that we live in an era where technology has taken a lot of the grunt work out of many human tasks – even more so with the development of artificial intelligence (AI). Devices like the Amazon Dot or Google Home allow you to use only your voice to play music, get a weather report, add something to a shopping list, or search for an answer to a question.

But you can go further than that. Smart home technology enables you to put a range of appliances, devices or systems on a common network and control them remotely. Using a smartphone, touch screen device or only your voice, you can control your home’s speakers, TVs, lights, appliances, security, thermostat and more.

There are also plenty of other assistive technologies out there. Introducing some of this tech into your home can make many aspects of home life a lot easier.

Home modifications

This could involve installing ramps, stairlifts, grab bars, a walk- or roll-in shower, or lowering countertops. It also involves making sure your home is safe by removing tripping hazards, securing rugs, and installing adequate lighting. These practical adjustments can make a huge difference to your independence and many of them can be built into your NDIS plan (see next section).

It’s also a smart idea to have a home emergency plan. One option could be to have a device to hang around your neck or that’s permanently within reach, so you can use it to call for help in case of emergency. Having an emergency kit and clear evacuation routes is also important.

Get savvy about finances

Make your NDIS funding work for you

If you have secured NDIS funding, this is where you can use it to really improve your home life.

Home modifications are tailored adjustments made to your home to enhance its accessibility and usability.

The NDIS may fund these modifications if you:

  • are concerned about safety or can’t move around your home easily
  • have difficulties with self-care tasks, like showering
  • can’t access necessary rooms in your home
  • struggle to meet your goals at home due to your disability
  • need alterations to your home so caregivers can assist you safely

There are two NDIS categories for home modifications: simple and complex.

Simple home modifications don’t affect the home’s structure and are capped at a cost of $20,000, divided into two categories:

  • Category A includes modifications costing less than $10,000
  • Category B involves modifications with costs from $10,000 to $20,000 or involving minor changes to a bathroom floor

On the other hand, complex home modifications typically require official building approvals or permits, along with the certification of tasks like plumbing and electrical work. They might be highly specialised or technical projects, or affect multiple parts of your home. Your NDIS plan will outline what funding you can get for home modifications.


Part of developing independence is controlling your own finances. Develop a budget that accounts for your income, disability-related expenses, and savings for future needs. There are many great apps that can help you manage this.

Some you might want to consider:

Spendable offers secure and reliable financial management solutions for both NDIS participants and service providers.
Pocketguard links your bank accounts, cards, loans and investments so you can easily track your spending.
Budget Boss is a simple and smart app that helps you manage your budget with ease.

Sort your transport

Mobility is a key aspect of independence. If you can familiarise yourself with the accessible transportation options in your area, such as paratransit services, accessible taxis, or rideshare services with accessible vehicles, you won’t need to wait on loved ones to get you out of the house.

If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to get your driver’s licence, there are modifications that can be made to vehicles to make them accessible for drivers with disabilities.

Developing your skills and getting employment

If you want to continue working towards independent living, skill development courses are your secret weapon. Our Day Programs are the ideal place to continue developing your capabilities and strengthen areas where you struggle.

We offer a mixture of centre-based and community-based Day Programs so you can try new things, work on your skills and make friends with like-minded people. Want to learn how to budget or cook? Want to get out and about and do something fun in the community? We can tailor your plan to suit your interests and NDIS goals.

Our Day Programs run Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 3 pm, and include most public holidays. You can do as many or as few days per week as you like and we also offer transport to and from our centre.

Independent living with housemates

Supported Independent Living

Perhaps you aren’t ready to live alone but you’re keen to move out of your family home and have your own space. Our Supported Independent Living home is the perfect place to develop your independence, while sharing a fun and accessible house with three other housemates.

You’ll have your own private room and share communal spaces. Plus, our care staff will be on hand 24/7 to help you when you need it and take a step back when you don’t.

Short-term Accommodation
For those who want a taste of what it’s like to live away from home but aren’t quite ready to fully move out yet, our short-term accommodation allows you to stay from 1-14 days in a shared accessible house. You’ll experience first-hand what it’s like to live in a shared house with your peers. And our care staff will be onsite 24/7 to assist you however you need.

By making a few small changes to your home, taking charge of your money and mobility and working on your skills development in a safe and supported environment, you can enhance your independence and quality of life. Remember, the key to successful independent living is finding the right balance of support, technology, and personal empowerment.

Contact us to learn more about Day Programs, Supported Independent Living or Short-term Accommodation.

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